Archive for September, 2012

Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Sylvia Brownrigg on Lisa Zeidner’s Love Bomb: “With the pleasing intensity of an action film and none of the boring car chases, “Love Bomb” is a witty, smart and densely packed novel, incorporating descriptions of SWAT tactics, references to NGO politics, a glance at run-of-the-mill suburban racism, a light look at “badge bunnies” (women who like sleeping with cops) and many great, recognizable glimpses of the challenges of modern parenthood.” (NYTimes)

David L. Ulin on Eduardo Halfon’s The Polish Boxer: “It is deeply accessible, deeply moving, not least because everything it addresses — the fate of the pianist, the grandfather, the narrator’s identity — remains elusive.” (LATimes)

The Independent on Sue Hubard’s Girl in White: ” There is much material here for a superb story. Unfortunately, too much explanation, and a rather limpid prose style, smother the possibilities.” (The Independent)

Craign Wilson on Lisa Genova’s Love Anthony: “…beautifully written, and poignant to the point of heartbreak.” (USAToday)

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, September 30th, 2012

Ready your fancypants phones, The Paris Review is launching an app. (mediabistro)

Author torrents his own work and somehow runs afoul of Google’s copyright regulations. (techdirt)

A lineup of The 10 Best Narrators in Literature graces the page over at (Publishers Weekly)

Janet Steen laments the current lot of artists in America. (Salon)

Want to see all of Hemingway’s works in one place? Head over to the Hollings Library at the (University of South Carolina)

The Miami Book Fair’s author lineup is 300-strong. (The Millions)

Banned book week, as it always does, shines the light on censorship. (CBS)

Free digital open-source texbooks are dawning in California. Is this good news? (The Atlantic)

“On this day in 1868 Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women was published. It was an immediate best seller, bringing the thirty-five-year-old Alcott a cult following of teenage girls and a hero status which she grew to regret. In her letters she scorned ‘the young generation of autograph fiends’ that were lionizing her, and when she left for Europe, she took precautions: ‘Don’t give anyone my address,’…” (Today In Literature)

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

“Some people are born with a vital and responsive energy. It not only enables them to keep abreast of the times; it qualifies them to furnish in their own personality a good bit of the motive power to the mad pace.”

- Kate Chopin



Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Mark Swed on Paul Elie’s Reinventing Bach: “In his quest for Bach, Elie casts his net widely, seeking from this one composer both spiritual transcendence and a connection with secular society and culture.” (LATimes)

Ted Gioia on David Byrne’s How Music Works: “Byrne’s grumpy polemics are surprising, especially given the tolerance and open-mindedness that animate most of his book.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Carolyn Kellogg on A.M. Homes’ May We Be Forgiven: “The story is so fast-moving and pushes its characters to such extremes that it quickly moves into a zone that’s a farcical hyper-realism.” (Chicago Tribune)

Mark Helprin’s In Sunlight and in Shadow: “It’s got great polarized motifs — war and peace, heroism and cowardice, crime and civility, pleasure and business, love and hate, bias and acceptance — which the gifted novelist weaves into a grand, old-fashioned romance, a New York love story that begins with a Hollywoodish meet-cute on the Staten Island Ferry.” (NPR)

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, September 29th, 2012

The University of Texas makes David Foster Wallace’s handwritten notes on THE PALE KING available for research. (The Huffington Post)

Kentucky rolls out a license plate program to flag library-awareness. (WKYT)

Revived from the summer archives as we move into fall, here’s a look at the guilty pleasure of reading. (The New York Times)

Etgar Keret gives writing advice to new wordsmiths in (Rookie Magazine)

USA Today publishes their Fall Must-Read list. (USA Today)

Like booze and mental illness, mustaches can be quite common in literary circles. (BookRiot)

A crayon drawing by poet, Jack Kerouac, fetched $7500 at auction. (BookTryst)

Former NY Times publisher, Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, has died at age 86. Rest in peace. (The Associated Press)

“On this day in 1902 William McGonagall, poet and tragedian of Dundee, died. Today McGonagall is a cult figure, his many collections of poetry translated into over a dozen languages and selling well to those wishing to investigate a reputation for ‘the worst poetry ever written, in any language, at any time.’ The middle-aged weaver was contemplating the beauties of a June day when he felt “a flame as Lord Byron has said” telling him to ‘write, write, write.’…” (Today In Literature)

Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Andrew Riemer on Ian McEwan’s Sweet Tooth: “Can Ian McEwan, a stylish writer, make himself write awful prose? Apparently he can.” (Sydney Morning Herald)

Isabel Berwick on JK Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy: “Everyone is described minutely, with unflinching attention to physical appearance (“Andrew’s acne stood out, livid and shiny, from his empurpling cheek …”) and to their interior lives, their neuroses, and, most importantly, secrets: “Things denied, things untold, things hidden and disguised.” (Financial Times)

Ron Charles on Kevin Powers’ The Yellow Birds: “…amid the gore and the terror and the boredom, you can hear notes of Powers’s work as a poet.” (The Washington Post)

David Rice Adam Prince’s The Beautiful Wishes of Ugly Men: “For all of the drunks and dreamers collected here, stretched thin between animal and emotional callings, the path of love and commitment, out of the lonely middle of life, is worth choosing – even though it leads inexorably, like all paths, to the end.” (The Rumpus)

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, September 28th, 2012

Poet, Gary Snyder takes the 2012 Wallace Stevens Award. (GalleyCat)

Rick Riordan’s THE MARK OF ATHENA (third in his Heroes of Olympus series) is set for a massive 3.5 million-copy print run. (Yahoo! News)

A professor’s ponderings on the reading list for a class of jailbirds is on tap at (The Christian Science Monitor)

Since everyone on the planet has already bought THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, Quercus’ surprise at the decline of the franchise’s sales is, er, surprising. (The Bookseller)

Patricia MacLachlan to pen prequel to THE BOXCAR CHILDREN. (The Chicago Sun-Times)

Love, sex, and poetry at (Slate)

Have a look at some of the beautiful illustrations spotlighted at the Bath Festival of Children’s Literature. (The Telegraph)

The identity and account of Jerry Sandusky’s victim #1 will be revealed in an upcoming book from Ballantine. (Salon)

If you get the munchies at the Library of Congress, here’s what their gift shop offers for sustenance. (bookavore)

Maud Hart’s under-sung series for children, BETSY-TACY, gets the spotlight at (The New York Times)

Jo Nesbo has a chat with (USA Today)

“On this day in 1970 John Dos Passos died at the age of seventy-four. He is now one of the more forgotten Lost Generation writers, but the U.S.A. trilogy (The 42nd Parallel, 1919, The Big Money, published 1930-36) was important reading in the forties and fifties, both for its angry indictment of the “prosperity myth” and its style. Influenced by Joyce, Dos Passos incorporated a ‘stream-of-society’ technique into his best fiction…” (Today In Literature)

Thursday Quote of the Night

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

“I’m much faster now. When you only have a certain amount of time to write, after a while you learn to use your time well or you stop writing.”

- Alice Hoffman




Thursday Evening Book Reviews

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Thom Geier on Dennis Lehane’s Live By Night: “…a ripping, movie-ready yarn that jumps from a Boston prison to Tampa speakeasies to a Cuban tobacco farm.” (

Matt Damsker on Jeffrey Toobin’s The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court: “After reading this wise book, one can fairly wonder whether the court, at its conservative core, embodies a brave corrective for the overreach of federal policy, or amounts to a partisan plot against America.” (USAToday)

Lucy Beresford on Sandi Toksvig’s Valentine Grey: “This is a book about war for people like me who usually steer well clear of the genre.” (The Telegraph)

Michael Upchurch on Craig Nova’s The Constant Heart: “Honor, destiny, caprice, oblivion — Nova’s novel parlays them all into a life-and-death struggle filled with moments (a surreal appliance-store holdup, a good-guys/bad-guys chase across the wilds of upstate New York) that feel as elemental as they are revealing of human foible and character.” (Seattle Times)

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Stephen Chbosky elaborates on adapting (and casting, and directing) his novel, THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER, for the screen. (

On its 50th anniversary, here’s a look back on Rachel Carson’s, SILENT SPRING. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Amazon paid big bucks for Penny Marshall’s memoir. But will the investment pay off? (Publishers Weekly)

High school English teacher, Jerry Heverly, laments that kids simply don’t read. (Castro Valley Patch)

The world’s smallest book isn’t quite the width of a human hair. And it’s a fundraiser. (The Huffington Post)

JK Rowling’s former editor thinks he’s the ‘Barry’ that’s killed off at the beginning of THE CASUAL VACANCY. (The Telegraph)

Debut author, Kevin Powers, has a chat about his book, THE YELLOW BIRDS, with (USA Today)

Pentagon send out a reader’s guide for Defense Department employees who want to read NO EASY DAY. (The Washington Post)

In a blending of the arts, Edinburgh book clubs can hold their discussions in art galleries. Clever! (STV Edinburgh)

Foz Meadows lobs a response in the fresh Book Blogger vs. Literary Critic spat. (The Huffington Post)

Longtime Chicago bookseller, Robert Beck, has died. He was 91. Rest in peace. (The Chicago Tribune)

“On this day in 1929 Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms was published. Hemingway took his title from a 16th century poem by George Peele, in which Peele expresses regret to Queen Elizabeth I that he is too old to bear arms for her. The ‘arms’ in question for Frederic Henry, Hemingway’s hero, were those he and some half-million Italian soldiers gladly dropped in the retreat from Caporetto in the autumn of 1917; and those of nurse Catherine Barkley, who dies so suddenly at the end that no farewell is possible…” (Today In Literature)

Afternoon Viewing: 1356, by Bernard Cornwell

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

Penguin Group looks to recoup advances paid to writers who haven’t delivered their manuscripts. (The Smoking Gun)

…and Robert Gottleib responds. (GalleyCat)

New kiddie ereader is proving to be a headache for Toys R Us. They’re being sued for nicking trade secrets. (Thompson Reuters)

Academic writing will get an overhaul if Judith Hochman has anything to say about it. (The Atlantic)

The National Book Foundation asked Brooklyn Book Festival goers what they were reading. (

Here’s a book to ease the worries of people who find some poetry difficult. (Hint: You’re not a ninny. It’s supposed to be difficult.) (The LA Review of Books)

Harper has a new Christian book division on the horizon. (Publishers Weekly)

Queen tells reporter; reporter reports it; BBC lands in uncomfortably warm water. (TV Newser)

1950′s sci-fi novels are the topic at hand over at (The Millions)

JK Rowlings old neighbors don’t appreciate her sketch of then snobbery. (The Telegraph)

“On this day in 1957 West Side Story opened at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theater for a run of 732 performances. Jerome Robbins first presented the idea of a modern Romeo and Juliet to Leonard Bernstein in 1949 — at this point he envisioned a Jewish-Catholic conflict fought on New York City’s east side — but neither had time to develop it further. When writer Arthur Laurents and Bernstein resumed discussions in 1955, they moved the turf war to the west side…” (Today In Literature)

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

As if having Annie Wilkes safely up there on the screen wasn’t terrifying enough, now you can be in the same room with her. Stephen King’s MISERY heads to the stage. (The Guardian)

Cecil Hourani remembers journalist, Anthony Shadid, in (Granta)

Man Booker judge, Sir Peter Stothard, makes the case that readers’ opinions (via book blogs) are a detriment to literature. (The Independent)

… and the impact of reader recommendation is examined at (Digital Book World)

On, the auto-complete feature reveals the reading curiosities of the hoi-polloi. (The Millions)

Eat sponge cake, roast turkey, and curry (presumably not all together) like Beatrix Potter as her recipe book heads to the auction block. (The Daily Mail)

If you like looking at the homes of persons-of-note, here are seven that go with famous authors. (NBC)

Teacher, Erin Gruwell, talks memoir-writing and the film adaptation of her story. (The Atlantic)

The Author’s Big Mistake, in short, is responding in public to negative criticism. F. Scott Fitzgerald was not immune. (The Atlantic)

“On this day in 1933 Ring Lardner died at the age of forty-eight, from a heart attack, tuberculosis and the cumulative effects of alcoholism. Although he kept producing occasional pieces and columns, Lardner’s last years were clouded by a general decline in health, popularity, income and output. June Moon, his Broadway collaboration with George S. Kaufman, was a hit near the end, but one which apparently cost as much as it contributed…” (Today In Literature)

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, September 24th, 2012

“For the source of the short story is usually lyrical. And all writers speak from, and speak to, emotions eternally the same in all of us: love, pity, terror do not show favorites or leave any of us out.”

- Eudora Welty




Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Andy Beckett on Peter Hook’s Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division: “As an attempt to rewrite the Joy Division legend, this uneven book succeeds only partially.” (The Guardian)

Ian Thomson on Nicholas Roe’s John Keats: A New Life: “Overall… this is a wonderful work that has many new things to say about Keats, his extraordinary work and inner life.” (Financial Times)

Antonya Nelson on Claire Vaye Watkins’ Battleborn: “Readers will share in the environs of the author and her characters, be taken into the hardship of a pitiless place and emerge on the other side — wiser, warier and weathered like the landscape.” (NYTimes)

Tom Nolan on Sylvie Simmons’ I’m Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen: “…more celebratory narrative than psychological X-ray; Simmons proves as indulgent as any Cohen muse, mentor or matriarch.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Apparently, it’s National Punctuation Day,!. (The Huffington Post)

Paul Krugman’s (Nobel Laureate for Economics) book is used as a model to examine price-variance in bookselling. (The Atlantic)

Is there an unknown Philip Roth book out there? Possibly. (bookslut)

Lawrence Ferlinghetti has written a new, book-length, poem. His saga could be considered one as well. (The San Fransisco Chronicle)

Writers on writing at (The Guardian)

Michael Morpurgo talks about the inspiration for his latest novel, A MEDAL FOR LEROY. (The Telegraph)

Wedding in a bookstore. Why not? (Eagle-Tribune)

Author, Lisa Moore, discusses adapting her novel, FEBRUARY, for the stage. (Quill & Quire)

50 years in publishing brings editor, Michael di Capua, back to where he started: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. (Publishers Weekly)

Here’s a look at a recently auctioned letter written by Louisa May Alcott. (BookTryst)

Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa take the Emmy lauding dramatic writing for Showtime’s Homeland. (GalleyCat)

“On this day in 1991 Theodor Seuss Geisel died at the age of eighty-seven. Geisel turned to children’s books in his late twenties, when his job creating ads for ‘Flit’ insect repellent-his ‘Quick, Henry, the Flit!’ became a household slogan across America-left him comfortable and bored. His first children’s book, To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street (1937) was rejected by twenty-seven publishers, but over the next fifty years he would write and illustrate forty-eight books…” (Today In Literature)

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

“In writing a novel, when in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns.”

? Raymond Chandler




Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

Melinda Bargreen on Louise Marley’s The Glass Butterfly: “…Marley knits together two related plot lines — a contemporary story about a therapist in deadly peril from a patient, and a domestic drama in the life of opera composer Giacomo Puccini — into a gripping novel about obsession and its consequences.” (Seattle Times)

AN Wilson on Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton: “…an artless ramble, and every few pages it gives off the sour rancour of a man who can never forget insults or spats.” (The Telegraph)

David L. Ulin on Attica Locke’s The Cutting Season: ” Locke’s insistence on grounding her story in a deeper history pays off because it invests the book with gravitas, a sense of place and consequence, that feels profound and real.” (LATimes)

Shirley Whiteside on Val McDermid’s The Vanishing Point: “After the breakneck speed of the opening, the story gets bogged down with extended flashbacks…” (The Independent)

Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, September 22nd, 2012

And why, exactly, should JK Rowling worry about the sales of A CASUAL VACANCY? (The Guardian)

Reading a bit of classic literature on the train can be a real ice-breaker. (BookRiot)

If you’re in the DC area, consider a stroll through this weekend’s National Book Festival. (The Washington Post)

Emma Thompson has revived the saga of Peter Rabbit. Here’s what else she likes in books. (The New York Times)

CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG is fifty years old! (NPR)

John Updike is the spokesperson for American thought, according to Ian Hamilton in (The London Review of Books)

Madeleine L’Engle’s A WRINKLE IN TIME gets a graphic novel makeover. (The Huffington Post)

In honor of Stephen King’s birthday, BookRiot tracked down a gaggle of nifty King fan sites. (BookRiot)

The Atlantic explores diary-keeping’s effect on well-being. (The Atlantic)

“On this day in 1991 the Dead Sea Scrolls were made available to the public for the first time by the Huntington Library in California. The first Scrolls were discovered in the caves of Qumran by Bedouin shepherds in 1947. Hundreds of complete scrolls and tens of thousands of textual fragments were eventually found, or recovered at a price from the more enterprising Bedouin, or purchased on a scroll black market that became so open that this ad appeared in the Wall Street Journal…(Today In Literature)

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, September 21st, 2012

Timothy Egan remembers revered editor, Ashbel Green. (The New York Times)

Stephen King turns 65 today. Here’s the note he wrote his 16 year old self. (twitpic)

Author, Libba Bray, shares some books she loves and why she loves them. (Publishers Weekly)

Gillian Flynn’s ears must be burning, because they’re talking her up at (The Millions)

What does Hell sound like? A writer will tell you. (BLDG BLOG)

BookRiot gets author, Colin Dickey, to talk about anything but writing. (BookRiot)

Get the scoop on World Book Day. (The Telegraph)

Word-of-mouth publicity goes digital and is poised to rule the book world. (The Los Angeles Times)

Bloomsbury heads to India. (The Bookseller)

WalMart follows Target and stops selling Kindles. (The Huffington Post)

“On this day in 1947 Stephen King was born. As told in On Writing, his 2000 “memoir of the craft,” King’s childhood was formative of the man and his themes, ‘a kind of curriculum vitae.’ He denies any shape or through-line to his recollections, but this seems disingenuous: growing up may be ‘a fogged-out landscape from which occasional memories appear like isolated trees’ but the trees cited are mostly “the kind that look as if they might like to grab and eat you.”…” (Today In Literature)